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Service Programs

Bringing Tales to Life at an Eco-camp in the Urals

Bazhov Sites Park, Russia - A 140 m long tourist route was laid out by volunteers in the natural park “Bazhov sites” from August 23 to 25 in the Russian Urals region. Although there is already a path to the Talkov Stone Lake, the park authorities are looking for opportunities to improve this and other routes so they remain interesting for visitors, are environmentally friendly, and preserve the natural environment. Therefore, the proposal to organize an eco-camp was timely; the idea arose in spring after a meeting with park representatives and Evgeny Skvortsov of UPF-Urals, coordinator of the Baikal Volunteer Forum.

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Over the weekend, the work of laying a new path was carried by 14 participants from Yekaterinburg and Sysert. A core team of six people was joined by other participants, some for a day and others for few hours. Even those who took part for a small period they were fully committed to tasks such as rooting out old stumps and cooking meals.

Making a trail requires skill and observance of special rules. The experience gained during renovation of tourist routes in the environs of Lake Baikal was applied by the organizers to this project in the Urals, and they shared their specialized knowledge in the course of the project and trained participants in the art of laying out safe walking routes.

Beside making a tourist trail, the project involved an educational part, including discussions on volunteering and ecology, and outings. Throughout the weekend, volunteers discussed how personal growth is enhanced through volunteerism, altruism, and rejection of selfishness, led by Yevgeny Skvortsov. They considered different ways of organizing volunteer activities according to this approach; they discussed the possibilities of organizing local activities in the context of an all-Russia cleanup. Fifteen-year-old Kirill brought great excitement into the discussion by his clarifying questions and youthful enthusiasm along with a desire to find his direction as a volunteer.

Participants in the eco-camp took the time to explore the park. First, they visited the Talkov Stone Lake. The pond that formed over the former open pit where talc had been mined, and the impressive rocks on its banks make this place one of the most beautiful in the central Urals. It is a cultural and historical site; from 1905 to 1907, the local workers held their political meetings there.

On the river in the park there is a dam built by beavers; along the banks, visitors can see the trees the beavers cut down. A visit to one of the dams was also included.

The “Bazhov Sites” park was created with the status of a specially protected natural territory in 2007, on the lands of the state-managed Sysert Forest. It includes several tourist routes. In the interest of protecting the natural environment, staff members are working to increase the quantity and species diversity of animals, conservation of the forest. For visitors, the entrance to the Park is paid, still in the opinion of the organizers and volunteers of the project «Tales come true», the efforts of the Park workers in preserving the Middle Urals nature resources exceed their financial resources; thus the participation of volunteers in developing the natural areas of the park is welcomed, reasonable, and valuable.

Organizers expressed gratitude to the park staff for providing tents and tools and to the participants for their time and labor!

The project was named “Tales Come to lLfe” in the hopes that the volunteer efforts will give rise to new legends and traditions.

See references in the Internet: link to description of the project:

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